Friday, January 10, 2014 at 10:14am, United Plant Savers released the following national statement regarding the content of the new series 'Appalachian Outlaws' which premiered Thursday evening on the History Channel:
United Plant Savers warns History Channel about dangers of promoting harvest of threatened species.
January 10, 2014 (ATHENS, OH) United Plant Savers is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of medicinal plants native to the United States and Canada. As advocates for the dwindling populations of wild American Ginseng, United Plant Savers is expressing concern to the History Channel and its viewers over how the harvest of wild American Ginseng is being portrayed in the recent series ‘Appalachian Outlaws’. This concern stems from the potential over-glorification of American Ginseng harvest in the wake of increasing levels of illegal harvest on state and federal lands, which has recently gained national media attention and is threatening the survival of the species in the wild.
“United Plant Savers is concerned that the content of this show will have a negative impact on American Ginseng conservation and could lead to further illegal harvesting,” states Executive Director, Susan Leopold.
With the intention of reducing pressures on wild populations of American Ginseng and other threatened medicinal plants, United Plant Savers has identified and published ‘At-Risk’ and ‘To-Watch’ lists of key species in decline due to a variety of factors including over-harvesting. American Ginseng is listed in Appendix II of the CITES Treaty and United Plant Savers is reminding the public about federal regulations, laws and recent restrictions surrounding the harvest and sale of the species, and good stewardship harvesting practices such as those published by the American Herbal Products Association in collaboration with United Plant Savers and US Fish and Wildlife.
The future viability of wild populations of American Ginseng is questionable in light of the species’ slow growth rate and complex reproductive strategy, loss of habitat, and increased illegal harvesting on state and federal lands in response to rising international demand and economic incentive. United Plant Savers has recently launched a national petition to encourage state and federal agencies to continue to fund initiatives specifically aimed at the conservation of American Ginseng and to facilitate educational programs for private landowners on how to grow American Ginseng as a non-timber forest product.
United Plant Savers acknowledges the cultural heritage and historical role that American Ginseng has played in the Appalachian region and encourages those that are interested in the harvesting of American Ginseng to educate themselves about conservation issues and regulations on the species.
United Plant Savers encourages our members and supporters to remain vigilant in regards to the illegal harvest of American Ginseng and report any such known activity to your local federal or state lands law enforcement agency.